Discover the fabulous food of Spring through some of Yorkshire’s best restaurants.
Partisan – Florencia Clifford
There is nothing more promising than an English spring. The ground waking up from the cold months, tiny fluorescent green leaves appearing on branches, blossom, flowers and bulbs. More sunshine, warmer days. We begin to shed our multiple layers and we also want to eat differently. But if you want to eat seasonally and local, early spring in Britain is not bountiful, but delicate.
Our desire to showcase seasonality at this time of the year in Partisan is not easy, but possible. In our cake counter, bakers Georgia and Twandi have carte blanche to use as much forced rhubarb as they wish, as soon as it appears, and blood oranges, coming from Spain. Wild garlic will start appearing in our cheese scones as soon as the first shoots show up in the woods. We also change the French Toast toppings regularly; think poached and roasted rhubarb, blood orange mascarpone and a candied ginger dukkah.
I am hoping that this year we can be more agile at changing dishes as new produce starts to appear with the help of Food Circle York for the most wonderful locally grown produce. Later on we will introduce asparagus from Yorkshire, delicate leaves, sorrel, and jersey royals, always complementing a lovely piece of north sea trout. As we slowly move into summer, Spring will begin to give more and more, with nature becoming almost unstoppable in its desire to nourish.
Pipe and Glass – James Mackenzie
You can’t beat the first signs of spring; the nights are getting lighter and lambs start to appear in the fields surrounding the Pipe and Glass. As a country pub, we’re surrounded by nature and the change in the seasons is evident, which I ensure is reflected in my menus.
We’re very fortunate in Yorkshire to have so many passionate producers and suppliers so choosing my favourite seasonal ingredient is a tough call! Yorkshire Asparagus is fantastic – we always showcase it on our menus during its short season, which really makes you appreciate it all the more, as we don’t use it at any other time of year.
I also love wild garlic, which grows in abundance in the woodland behind the Pipe and Glass and we pick daily. It’s such a versatile ingredient; we use it in soups, as a persillade with a roast breast of guinea fowl, crispy leg meat parcel, sprouting broccoli and pickled baby mushrooms and as part of the crumb in our cider braised rabbit and wild garlic crumble with black pudding and white beans.
Eat Your Greens – Dan Palmer
Spring is when the world turns green! We always look forward to its arrival but this year in particular we’ve been SO ready for it. The winter has been long, cold and wet and we need some longer days and shorter nights.
The early part of spring can be a difficult one for British produce. The hungry gap, when winter crops have finished and the spring vegetables have just been sown, means there’s not much to excite us. But as the soil warms up, shoots mature and our patience is rewarded with late spring crops like asparagus, radishes and lots of leafy herbs.
This is our favourite part of the season, summer is on the way, the outside terrace is open and our dishes are simple, fresh and light. Think sitting in the sun, eating grilled sardines and asparagus with a glass of natural sparkling wine… can’t wait!
Bantam – Sam Varley
I can’t wait for the coming spring season, firstly because it will be the first at Bantam, but also due to all the lockdowns and restrictions, I’ve barely cooked in the spring time for the last two years.
It feels like the milder weather and the arrival of new season vegetables are encouraging to change the way you cook, moving away from the comforting slow cooking of winter, into quicker, lighter methods to keep things fresh and allow ingredients to speak for themselves.
One of my favourite ingredients to work with in spring is wild garlic. We try to use as much local produce as possible, and once wild garlic gets going, there’s mounds of it all over the river banks surrounding Helmsley. It’s a lot less punchy than bulb garlic, and it’s super versatile. We will be serving it with both fish and meat, and making butter and oils with it to use later in the year. As the plant matures, we might pick some of the flowers to garnish dishes, and finally as the flowers turn to seeds we will make capers with them.
As for the restaurant, I’m really looking forward to the coming year. It has been a brillant, if not challenging first six months since we opened, but I’m really proud of what Bantam has become, with a great team serving fantastic food and wine, decent music and good times!
Clark’s Restaurant – Rob Clark
Here on the North Yorkshire Coast of Scarborough, spring is a fundamental season we most look forward to. The bad February weather is behind us and our local fishing industry is in full swing, landing Scarborough crab and lobsters from Yorkshire Lobster company on the West Pier; shellfish is hand selected for us and collected by myself daily a short walk away – talk about fresh on the door step! Lobsters are prepared on site, appear in raviolis, or are served simply dressed in their shell with garlic butter and seaweed seasoned chips.
Seagrown supply the restaurant with a range of local seaweeds which we weave into seasoned fish, sauces, butters and emulsions seasoning dishes with natural flavours of the sea and a real talking point with customers. Spring lamb makes an appearance at Nockels butchers counter in The Scarborough Market which we pair with spiced potatoes and preserved forced grown Yorkshire rhubarb from Tomlinson’s, giving a great sweet, sour and rich meaty flavour. And our local honey supplier drops in blossom honey from his bees which we use for cheesecakes, ice creams and my morning porridge. It’s delicious!
Raithwaite Sandsend – Ollie Hunter
Spring is one of the best seasons at Raithwaite Hotel – the beautifully curated gardens light up with emerging bulbs, spring blossoms and ancient woodlands. The Kitchen, Bar and Restaurant all embrace this season, tapping into our motto ‘between the sea and moors’, we use the finest most delicious produce in the area, seasonally and with an aim for zero waste.
Spring is the most electric season, full of promising life, popping buds, generous blossoms and lots of the colour green. I love the fresh flavours like wild garlic from the Estate, new seasons asparagus, crisp radishes, rich irony nettles, and local foraged seaweed. Our home made ricotta ravioli with York ham and wild garlic pesto is divine. It’s a fast moving season, with produce changing quickly so it’s best to capture it and put it straight onto the plate… to be enjoyed with a rhubarb Bellini or a glass of organic wine.
The Black Swan – Tommy Banks
We’re proud to grow our menu at the Black Swan and Roots, and many of our ingredients are grown in our two-acre kitchen garden alongside field scale crops at our farm. The first sign of spring is one of the most exciting moments of the year for us, as we begin sowing the first of our seeds in preparation for the coming months.
A favourite ingredient of ours is tangerine marigolds, and some of the first paintbrush-shaped seeds are already sprouting from their trays in the polytunnels. It won’t be long before their vibrant, citrus-flavoured flowers are in full bloom, which we use to make oils and vinegars for our tasting menu, and even distillates for our cocktails too!
The Green Room – Philip Akrill
Spring is a great time for chefs, it signals the beginning of the new tourist season and says goodbye to winter. My personal favourite thing to work with is wild garlic. We are lucky to live in an area where it grows vastly so we forage it ourselves. I can often be found trudging through the soggy mud of forge valley with my two boys. The smell is amazingly strong and earthly – there’s nothing quite like it. We will be using it in this season’s garlic butter sauce with confit chicken. It’s perfect to work with, absolutely free and one of nature’s best kept secrets.
Celeriac is another favourite that’s currently on our menu twice; as a hearty celeriac and truffle oil soup, perfect for those chilly nights; and again on the vegetarian salt baked celeriac, a restaurant favourite cooked in a cocoon of salt and egg white to retain moisture and flavour. Soft and moist and goes perfect with a fresh spring pesto.
Images: Bantam, Partisan, Pipe & Glass, Eat Your Greens, Clark’s Restaurant, The Black Swan